NLC Vows To Oppose New N5000 Note, Says Nnaji’s Resignation ‘Long Overdue’



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President Of Nigeria Labour Congress, Abdulwaheed Omar has urged Nigerians to oppose the new N5000 note  proposed by the CBN.Omar spoke through  Amina M. Danesi, ex-officio member,  NLC on Thursday at the opening events of the 8th biennial delegates conference of the Metal Products Senior Staff Association Of Nigeria At The Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.According to Omar, “ the recent proposal by the Central Bank of Nigeria is one of those policies we must be prepared to vigorously oppose.”

“We see in the proposal a policy contradiction that completely exposes our policy makers as playing the devil’s advocate. Most of these policies are clearly not designed by them but obviously by institutions outside our shores”Omar said.

The NLC President said , “There is no genuine reason for the introduction of N5000 note in a country that is dwindling in production and suffocating under high inflation. While our government complains about lack of funds to reactivate infrastructures critical to economic development, the CBN is planning to spend over N40billion to produce new denominations of our currency. Comrades, we must collectively oppose this and we must not allow the CBN continue with this clearly unnecessary project. Since we now know our country has over N40billion, and possibly don’t know what to spend it on, we suggest the money and any such money should be spent on the power sector, the informal sector and roads to ensure the growth of our economy if the government is serious about achieving industrial heights in the year 2020.

“While we acknowledge the intervention of the Senate who called for the suspension of the plan, we appeal that both chambers of the National Assembly should quickly intervene and not only stop the implementation of the policy but review the entire structure of the CBN to ensure the bank will not continue to mortgage our collective future with such policies that further drench our economy.

“The introduction of N5, 000 notes is a complete contradiction to the policy of a “cashless” society, which reduces the cost of producing currency notes and coins as well as the burden of carrying a lot of cash from one point to the other. We are completely opposed to this policy and call on the National Assembly to halt this plan immediately in the interest of our economy and the well being of the Nigerian people as it portends no positive economic values.

He advisedthat  “ the CBN should not supervise the total collapse of our economy with the introduction of a policy that has historically led to the total collapse or subjugation of the economies of some countries in Africa, Europe and South America.

The NLC also commended “President Goodluck Jonathan for accepting the long overdue “resignation” of Prof. Bart Nnaji, the former Minister of Power who throughout his tenure as minister overtly displayed his contempt for workers and did not also hide his personal interest in the industry. These clearly show he was never qualified to head that ministry in the first instance as his personal business interests in the sector definitely compromised his office”.

“We urge Mr. President to immediately order an all encompassing investigation into Prof. Nnaji’s tenure in the ministry as well as speed up the resolution of all outstanding labour issues in the industry, including the withdrawal of armed soldiers that were invited by Prof. Nnaji to intimidate workers under false presumptions.

Read the address below:

SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS (NLC), COMRADE ABDULWAHED IBRAHIM OMAR AT THE OPENING EVENTS OF THE 8TH BIENNIAL DELEGATES CONFERENCE OF THE METAL PRODUCTS SENIOR STAFF ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA AT THE LAGOS AIRPORT HOTEL, IKEJA, LAGOS ON THURSDAY 30TH AUGUST 2012

Protocols,

On behalf of the National Executive Council of the NLC, it is my esteemed pleasure to be at the conference of one of our most cherished affiliates, MEPROSSAN.

Since the formal affiliation of all the affiliates of the defunct Congress of Free Trade Unions, CFTU, to the NLC, we have never had cause to doubt the commitment, vibrancy and unity of MEPROSSAN. Your union’s contributions at meetings of organs of the NLC have been highly qualitative just as your commitment to our collective struggle for the promotion and defence of workers’ rights in Nigeria has continued to encourage us knowing that a strong union like yours will always be there to give support.

Comrades, you will no doubt agree with me that our country needs very strong and vibrant organizations that will be able to speak for our people; mobilize them for actions that will deepen democracy as well as promote and defend the fundamental rights of not just workers but the generality of all Nigerians.

In doing this, it is very important that our various pro people organizations, including the civil society and media, are united and focused on common grounds.

We must do everything possible to strengthen our relationship despite occasional disagreements on methods. Our methods can’t be the same, but our focus must not differ.

For us, as trade unions, when we call for protests and strike, it is based on specific demands that are eventually subjected to negotiations with our employers. And no negotiation can ever fulfill all the demands.

Our allies in civil society groups must understand this and some of them do. We are particularly impressed with the active support of the groups in the Joint Action Front, the civil society arm of the Labour and Civil Society Coalition who have been the drivers of the protests against increases in the pump price of petroleum products.

The truth is that no organization or individual is more committed to the struggles of our people than labour and civil society organisations, and we should not submit ourselves to blackmail that will undermine our structures and focus as trade unions.

Comrades, we need to build on our unity. Without the unity of the trade union movement we will mortgage the future and aspirations of not just our members but the entire country. We can’t afford to be divided.

This is why we are doing everything possible to ensure that we resolve our differences with some of our affiliates. We have already constituted a committee of elders comprising some of our former Presidents and experienced retired General Secretaries to do everything possible to resolve those differences. They have since commenced work and very soon we will have positive results.

Just as we are determined to ensure our unity, we are also using the platform provided by the Labour & Civil Society Coalition, LASCO, to strengthen our relationship with our other allies – students, informal sector workers, women, youths, farmers etc. We must all work together In the interest of our country.

There are a lot of challenges our country is confronting and the brunt of these challenges are borne by workers and the downtrodden. We therefore must continue to unite to ensure we collectively agree on how to confront anti people institutions and policies.

Comrades, the recent proposal by the Central Bank of Nigeria is one of those policies we must be prepared to vigorously oppose.

We see in the proposal a policy contradiction that completely exposes our policy makers as playing the devil’s advocate. Most of these policies are clearly not designed by them but obviously by institutions outside our shores.

There is no genuine reason for the introduction of N5000 note in a country that is dwindling in production and suffocating under high inflation. While our government complains about lack of funds to reactivate infrastructures critical to economic development, the CBN is planning to spend over N40billion to produce new denominations of our currency. Comrades, we must collectively oppose this and we must not allow the CBN continue with this clearly unnecessary project. Since we now know our country has over N40billion, and possibly don’t know what to spend it on, we suggest the money and any such money should be spent on the power sector, the informal sector and roads to ensure the growth of our economy if the government is serious about achieving industrial heights in the year 2020.

While we acknowledge the intervention of the Senate who called for the suspension of the plan, we appeal that both chambers of the National Assembly should quickly intervene and not only stop the implementation of the policy but review the entire structure of the CBN to ensure the bank will not continue to mortgage our collective future with such policies that further drench our economy.

The introduction of N5, 000 notes is a complete contradiction to the policy of a “cashless” society, which reduces the cost of producing currency notes and coins as well as the burden of carrying a lot of cash from one point to the other.

We are completely opposed to this policy and call on the National Assembly to halt this plan immediately in the interest of our economy and the well being of the Nigerian people as it portends no positive economic values.

We believe the CBN should not supervise the total collapse of our economy with the introduction of a policy that has historically led to the total collapse or subjugation of the economies of some countries in Africa, Europe and South America.

Finally, Comrades, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen we wish to commend President Goodluck Jonathan for accepting the long overdue “resignation” of Prof. Bart Nnaji, the former Minister of Power who throughout his tenure as minister overtly displayed his contempt for workers and did not also hide his personal interest in the industry. These clearly show he was never qualified to head that ministry in the first instance as his personal business interests in the sector definitely compromised his office.

We urge Mr. President to immediately order an all encompassing investigation into Prof. Nnaji’s tenure in the ministry as well as speed up the resolution of all outstanding labour issues in the industry, including the withdrawal of armed soldiers that were invited by Prof. Nnaji to intimidate workers under false presumptions.

On this note, Comrades, on behalf of our NEC, I wish you a very successful conference.

Thank you for listening.

NLC PRESIDENT WAS REPRESENTED BY COMRADE  AMINA M. DANESI, EX-OFFICIO NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS

 


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